This Christian medical doctor says get the COVID vaccine

I still hear a lot of folks (Christians and Non, says they do not trust the “science” (is their source the CDC and Fauci?) and refuse to get the COVID Vaccine. Some have had COVID and say it was little more than a speed bump, or they were completely asymptomatic so why bother.

In this well thought out article this physician lays out a case to consider.

SOURCE: Our World Data

You can track your state’s stats here: US Coronavirus vaccine tracker

Editor’s Note:  This is part three of a 3-part series about COVID-19 and its vaccine.  You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.  

Today, we still have a huge danger from this COVID-19 virus. I believe the vaccine is our best hope right now.

As a primary care physician for 40 years, I see myself as both a man of science and a man of faith. You could say I wear bifocals; I have a faith lens and a science lens and try to look at things from both sides…

SOURCE: This Christian medical doctor says get the COVID vaccine

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/07/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part VI

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Today we continue our series by looking at the third stage of the 5 Stages of GriefDepression.

Like so many other things Christians with enough faith should never get is depressed. At least that was the story we got told about my wife’s condition from a so called well meaning “friend”. Of course, this well-meaning person also was not a doctor and did no investigative questioning before blurting out the statement. I mention this not for sympathy, but to underscore the need for Chaplains and Ministers to make all due diligence in understanding the condition and history of those they are serving. I know with HIPAA this can be daunting but being well informed can greatly help in our care, comfort and counsel process.

I have yet to meet anyone going through the grief process that does not experience Depression in some manner. The obvious signs will usually manifest themselves as feelings of intense sadness, hopelessness, lack of energy, and other very detrimental effects that may affect the individual. It is important to note that these can be sublime and hidden in some folks. Again, using my wife, for example, she suffered a stroke due to poisoning before we met. She suffers from depression that is treated with counseling and medication. Her response to loss, like the recent death of her mom, is “I’m alright” even though she clearly was not. Like most folks (estimates as high as 67% of people suffering from depression) She just tries to grin and bear it. My wife because of her medical condition processes things differently and we (chaplains/ministers) need to be on the alert for this and any out of the “ordinary” situation and know when we are in over our heads. Here is a good list of types of depression.

So, what is depression? First depression is not just being sad. I lost my wedding band a few months ago, I was sad (even a little afraid of what my wife would say 😀)) but not depressed. Depression is sad on super steroids. It is constant here is the clinical definition:

The clinical definition, based on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5), is “a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and had a majority of specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, or self-worth.” This definition excludes grief after mourning.

Before we move on I think it would be helpful reminder to list some of the things that one could encounter as a Chaplain/Minister in the Grief process that could lead to depression:

  • Trauma
  • Painful past experiences (PTSD)
  • Chronic Pain
  • Incarceration
  • Job loss or cut in pay
  • Financial problems
  • Parenting concerns and raising respectful, resilient kids
  • Loss
  • Life-changing illness
  • Marriage/relationship issues

The second thing to note about depression is that is often MISDIAGNOSED. Far too often healthcare professionals and Chaplains/Ministers are quick to say someone who has experienced one of these issues is depressed. Many times they are simply melancholy, which means intense sadness but a far cry from clinically depressed.

Another thing that might surprise some is that stage 2 (ANGER) can rear its ugly head here again. Let me explain, folks can socially withdraw a clear sign of depression setting in, if you try and force them out of that they can become hostile. Other symptoms of Grief/Depression include:

  • Can’t concentrate or think straight
  • Restless and anxious
  • Poor appetite/ Weight loss
  • Sad demeanor
  • Dreams of the deceased or even talks to them
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Can think of nothing but the loss, illness, or event…
  • Makes up reasons for the loss, many don’t make sense
  • Dwells on mistakes, real or imagined, that he or she made with the deceased

The last thing I have learned about this stage of Grief counseling is in this stage of Depression, where folks begin to address feelings that have been put off (consciously or unconsciously) such as abandonment, helplessness, loneliness, fear, despair, agony, etc. These are things that they did not look at during the stages of denial, anger, and bargaining.

I am not a professional Licensed Christian Counselor/Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist, if dealing with my wife’s condition has taught me anything, it is I need to be involved and I need to leave much of that stuff to the professionals.

The Tree Planted By Streams of Living Water (Psalm 1) - YouTube

Psalm 1:1-3

As the Psalm says, we can be that care comfort, and wise counsel of the Lord’s Law to those who are in need. I am convinced it is here that Chaplains/Ministers can have the greatest impact. Again offering the care, comfort, and (compassionate) counsel that God has called us to do.

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/05/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part IV

Palliative Care Icon , Free Transparent Clipart - ClipartKey

As we continue this series, today will look at the second stage of the  5 Stages of Grief, ANGER. I remember one being told that “a good Christian never get angry” and being a young immature believer I thought that to be true, NOT!!! Christ was angry, are we not to follow His example? The difference is He had and so should we righteous anger at things that were an abomination against the Law(s) of God. One of the best explanations for this can be found here.

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. Proverbs 15:18

Of course in the grief process, the Anger with which we are concerned is slightly different. After the initial onslaught of emotions, including phase 1, denial, usually comes anger. Folks can be angry at any number of people or things and their anger can range from pent-up emotions to physical outbursts. Their anger is a result of their having lost control of the situation.

Some typical objects of anger are:

  • Themselves – Why couldn’t I help, I could have been there, I could have done something…
  • God -Why would God allow that to happen?
  • The deceased, or infirmed – How could they leave me?
  • The healthcare providers – They could have done more, they didn’t do enough, …
  • Hospitals – The VA *^#*^, We should never have admitted them there,
  • Anyone Offering Help – You don’t understand, you can’t know how I am feeling

Some Symptoms of Anger to look for are:

  • Irritability especially if it gets very bad
  • Ongoing preoccupation about what happened and why
  • Addictive or harming behaviors to self or others
  • Anxiety, Fear, Depression
  • There may be behavioral overreactions(outburst)

What can we do?

Again I can only go off my years first in counseling and then the practical application of all I learned when I have counselled others:

  • First is empathy and not simple sympathy especially in this stage. Someone who is angry even if not at you can easily turn on you (see last point above.
  • Second, allow the person to be angry, they need to get it out and not internalize it so it festers and grows malignant. Now of course we do not want them acting out harmful anger at themselves or others.
  • Try and ask probing questions, with grace and CAUTION, to get to the root of the anger, why are they angry, what is the true source of their anger.
  • If possible, offer to help them face the challenge, pray with them at a bedside, hold a prayer service, escort them to a funeral or gravesite, maybe speaking with hospital administration or a doctor…
  • Of course, if they seem stuck in the anger stage of grief, we need to make every effort to refer them to a certified Christian therapist, grief counselor, or psychologist.

Remember our job is to provide Care, Comfort, and (Short Term) Counsel while these individuals are assigned to us. We are not (at least most are not) long-term counselors, let us leave that to those professionals and be what God has called us to be Ministers/Chaplains.

Other Resources:

Dealing with Sorrow

Devotional Thought for Today – 02/09/2021

Logos.com

Deuteronomy 6

This chapter can be divided into two sections v.1-9 where Moses lays down the commandments or laws which God has given him and v.10-25 where the people are encouraged or exhorted to obey the laws. 

In the verse preceding our main text God tells Moses to bring a warning;  Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, ... bondage.  We too would be wise to heed this warning daily, for has not Christ brought us from the bondage to sin and the damnation of eternal death? Does not society today do all it can to persuade you to forget Christ and all His teaching? 

Our text today has three keywords:

Fear: Not a fear of fright or that of a slave to master (although quite appropriate) but with reverence and awe, an endearment for He who has rescued you from damnation. 

Serve:  Because we have such an affection for God, because of all He has done for us we serve Him, willingly with zeal in worship in public and in private. 

Swear:  Anytime a “Christian” makes an oath, he represents God. His oath, therefore, is as swearing or attesting in the name of God. There is no higher form of accountability than before the one true and living God.  In reality, anytime a believer takes actions of any kind it is his testimony, his mark, his oath of whom he is and therefore he is swearing, his oath to God. 

Today’s Prayer:

Father God, 

I know I fall short daily to live up to the potential you have for me help me each day to remember and never forget your great work in rescuing a sinner like me.  Give me the understanding and grace to fear and serve you with a humble heart and always represent you in a manner worthy of your oath. – AMEN

 

Devotrional Thought for Today – 01/23/2021

No photo description available.

Matthew 14:22-36

There are many great commentaries on what this passage of scripture is all about.  I am not arguing with them, I just want to emphasize one point that I see as something that likely could have been me. 

Peter in the situation plays a doubting Thomas when he recognizes Jesus’s voice but still says v.28; Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

It is easy to understand the fear and disbelief at first. Only God can command nature and Jesus had just done so. Yet when Peter is assured by His voice there remains lingering doubt. 

Today’s question? Is there any lingering doubt in you? Or are you fully committed to Christ as you LORD and SAVIOR! 


Additional Resources:

What was the meaning of Jesus walking on water?

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

 

Three Antidotes to the Fears that Rule the World

Three Antidotes to the Fears that Rule the World

If I had to choose a single word to describe the past twelve months, it would be fear. It’s run roughshod over people’s lives since early 2020, showing up in toilet-paper shortages, stay-at-home orders, murder hornets, and violent protests. People are terrified. But of what? I think there are two answers.

READ MORE > > 

What’s the Impact on Families and Kids If Schools Stay Closed?

What’s the Impact on Families and Kids If Schools Stay Closed?

What's the Impact on Families and Kids If Schools Stay Closed?

By Rachel del Guidice

Jonathan Butcher, senior policy analyst for the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, discusses the impact on families and children when schools remain closed during COVID-19.

Read More

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/15/2020

Matthew 6:27 – The Bible Wallpapers

AMP and RVR 1960


In Matthew 6:25–34, we find the portion of the Sermon on them Mountwhere Jesus deals with Anxiety

Basically His advise if you will is what good is there in worrying?  In other words how does it benefit you?  In v.25 He asks is life not more than the temporal (food, clothing and shelter) are we not to live for the eternal? In v.26 He notes, all that God does for nature and how much more will He do for His chosen? Finally in our text, what is it you hope to gain? Will worry and extend our lives? 

No matter the situation, no matter the problems of life God is in control and His shoulders are big enough for all our burdens.

It’s Time – October 11th is Freedom Sunday

It’s time. You are invited to join with churches and Christians across the nation for Freedom Sunday on October 11th, a national live stream event from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, CA.

Freedom Sunday will address the church’s scriptural and constitutional authority of religious freedom despite government restrictions and overreach. Right now, there are many things that have caused a great deal of fear. But God does not call us to live in a spirit of fear, but calls us to faith, love, and power through Christ.

FREEDOM SUNDAY: OCTOBER 11th

A NATIONAL LIVE STREAM EVENT

8 PM ET | 7 PM CT | 6 PM MT | 5 PM PT

You can watch this event live on October 11th at FreedomSunday2020.com.

Share this invitation with your church along with pastors and leaders in your community as we all unite to take a stand for religious freedom in this country.

Saturday’s Military Devotional – FEAR

Isaiah 43:1 Fear Not I Have Redeemed You (brown)

CSB and RVR 1960 


CONTEXT:

Fear strikes everyone, those who deny it are either LIARS or so full of themselves they are just plain to STUPID to recognize the truth. 

Today many in America and around the world are “afraid” of the COVID-19 virus. While there was at the beginning reason for concern, I would argue the Biblically fear should not have been and certainly should not continue trouble the hearts and minds of majority of people. 

The following is from a good friend LP, Jr. it’s point is simple we have been force fed FEAR via the media over the past 20 years and the results have always been the same. 

Even with lists like this, I would argue that the following personnel have more to “fear” daily that most Americans do in a lifetime:

Members of the Armed Forces

Law Enforcement 

Fire Fighters

EMT’s

Infectious Disease Health Care Workers 

Yet the daily doom and gloom of today’s news and the hardships of these occupations is still no reason to let fear control your life. 

Isaiah begins Chapter 43 with one of the Bibles famous, Now this… rendered But now… in the KJV and many others. This signifies that all that proceeded, so let us look back at the end of Chapter 42 for a moment. The God; through Isaiah in short says Israel you have been deaf dumb and blind to all I have done for you. Is there not any among you (a remnant) who hears? Beware the (Fear) wrath of God. 


BREAKDOWN:

But now – Forgetting the past, this small phrase which connects us to the previous Chapter also delineates the break in God’s wrath and the renewal of His Grace and Mercy 

thus saith the Lord –  So there can be no doubt whom is speaking Isaiah uses a much used and common biblical phrase

that created thee, O Jacob, – God reminds the Jewish peoples that He alone is the Creator King

and he that formed thee, O Israel, – I am convinced (like many others) that this is a reference to Gentiles

Fear not: – What is there to FEAR? God’s wrath, for their (Jewish Nations) constant disobedience. True Fear is not whatever harm can come to this temporal body but whatever punishment could befall it in eternity. Matthew 10:27-29

for I have redeemed thee, –  First God gave them the reason, He formed them, now the promise He has redeemed thee (them) from the fear of eternal punishment. No matter the circumstance, (Jerusalem being destroyed, COVID-19, War Zone, Riots) Christ has won the victory and is the antidote for Fear. 

I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. –  John Gill comments on this as follows: 

I have called thee by thy name; with an effectual calling, which is of particular persons, and those by name, even the same that are redeemed by Christ; for whom he has redeemed by his precious blood, they are called by the grace of God to special blessings of grace, with a high, holy, and heavenly calling; and have no reason to fear anything, since they are the chosen of God; have a right to all spiritual blessings; all things work together for their good; they shall persevere to the end, and at last be brought to glory, to which they are called:

thou art mine; such as are redeemed by Christ, and called by his grace, they are his Father’s gift, and his own purchase; they voluntarily give up themselves to him, under the influence of his Spirit and grace; they are his by profession and possession; they are his portion, people, sheep, and spouse; and his interest in them, and theirs in him, serve to prevent fear; such need not fear wanting anything, nor any enemy, nor perishing, or miscarrying of heaven and happiness, to which fears they are subject.


APPLICATION:

In the military during the chaos of combat operation there are usually three kinds of responses; 

FEARFUL here we have the person who just can not handle the complete and utter chaos and carnage that happens. Whether its the noise, the swiftness of operations, the shooting something triggers them to shut down. 

RAMBUL You do do not see a lot of these folks, but every once in a while some huckster gets all worked up on their first operation and thinks they are Rambo, the result is not usually healthy.  

HELPFUL This is g the soldier that lets their training kick in, follows orders and gets the job done. Are the scared, yeah, combat is no joke, but they are not going to let their battle buddies down. 

We have a choice, we can let FEAR paralyze us. We can let it play games with our minds and convince ourselves that we have much to fear when the only true fear is our eternal state. Can you identify your fears? If so what is you chief fear? Do you know where you will spend eternity?  Isaiah 41:10 says: 

Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.

What is there to fear when God has us in His palm?  


Today’s Questions:

Say What?

Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?

So What?

Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on FEAR

Now What?

Application: How does it apply to me?

Then What?

Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?